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Last week we discussed what kind of foods to use for your pre-workout meal, and discovered that carbs worked best because they are the easiest to convert into glucose, or “cellular gasoline.” But what happens if you find yourself in a pinch and need to get a workout in at a moment’s notice, and don’t have time to chow down on a bowl of oatmeal? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on that as well.

When it comes to pre-workout fueling, the amount of time you have before you start exercising will dictate what kind of foods you should consume. And, when we talk about timing of our meals, one important concept to understand is the glycemic index (GI). The GI is a measuring tool used to determine how quickly foods get absorbed into the blood stream as glucose, and, furthermore, how long that glucose stays there to be utilized by the cells of our body. The scale ranges from 1-100, with lower-rated foods taking a while to enter the blood and stay there longer, while the higher-rated foods enter quickly and exit almost just as fast.

Now, as we know, whatever we choose for our pre-workout fuel source, needs to be quickly absorbed, but also long-lasting (this is no time for a sugar crash!). Therefore, foods that are simple-sugar in nature, but in the middle of the GI scale are optimal for when our workout is within 30min from beginning. Examples of these types of foods would be: raw honey, and fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges. When your workout time is a little farther off, you have the luxury of eating foods that are little lower on the GI such as whole wheat bread, baked potato, or pasta. If you are 1-1.5hr away from your workout, you can even combine protein (ex. turkey sandwich, peanut butter toast).

So as you can see, it’s never too late to get a pre-workout meal in, no matter how close to gym time you are! Just follow these simple guidelines, and you will be able to get those gains any time of day!

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